Master of vocals and acting expertise that rivals pros, Elijah Lyons, class of 2019 is a recent graduate of Cathedral Preparatory School. Usually alumni profiles are done on alumni who tend to be a bit older; however, Elijah has been making quite the name for himself. Mainly, he has released his first ever album called The Singing Effect.
If you knew Elijah, this wouldn’t come off as a feat beyond his capabilities. At Prep he was known for his love of music and theater. He was a part of the chorus for three years and played in the jazz band as a guitarist, pianist and drummer, alternating between the three. He was also a star in countless shows in the theater program. He played Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jack Kelly in Newsies, and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables to name a few. However, his experience goes back even further. Elijah says he’s been acting ever since he was a child.
“My first show was Aladdin,” he said. “I was in sixth grade”
Singing holds an even deeper part of his heart. His friends and family would all agree that he has a magnificent voice. Elijah says that he’s been singing for what feels like as long as he’s been talking. When he was five he had his first solo at church.
“I’ve been hooked up on performing and making people smile with music and art since then,” he said.
When it comes to Prep, there’s a lot to uncover and a lot to learn over the four years one may have at Prep. With the amount of people one may meet, general maturity rising, and overall growth mentally, there’s a lot of realizations that comes with growing up. Elijah says that Prep showed him how to focus his time on his passions. He would often focus more on his art than his grades, and understands that to most that may not be the best idea. He would be challenged with the decision of art or grades often.
“I made the personal choice to believe that my art would take me farther as a humble human being than my grades ever could,” he said.
Despite this, Elijah says the choices he made at Prep turned him into both a better human and a better artist.
Elijah says his favorite moments at Prep were when he did the news. Being a natural on the stage, it would be a no brainer that he could also pull off his charm in front of the camera. Back during his senior year, he took the opportunity to be an anchor in the Prep morning news. He worked with fellow classmates to bring about a fun environment to the morning.
“My favorite memories from Prep are all from doing the morning news every morning,” he said. “It was basically a chance to perform every single morning.”
His success doesn’t stop there, as he has a few more big accomplishments under his belt. During his senior year at Prep, he went to District Chorus, which puts all participating singers from different schools in the district, to sing to judges. There are ten chairs, which are reserved for who the judges felt did the best. They measure vocalists on intonation, dynamics, tone, and other signs of vocal and musical knowledge. To be a part of one of these chairs, means progressing to regionals. In regionals, a similar process is followed, and being placed in one of the ten chairs moves you into states, which hosts the best high school vocalists in the state. He had gotten seventh chair at districts and sixth at regionals, which allowed him to progress to states, which was held in Pittsburgh. Elijah says that he met very great singers and it was overall very professional and prestigious.
“It was a lot of hard work,” he said, “but it was very much worth it.”
Continuing on his accomplishments while at Prep, Elijah was able to perform an original song and speak with the host on Good Morning America. Elijah says that GMA was looking for an inspiring story, and decided to look at the YMCA. The YMCA of America pointed them towards Erie, specifically his mentors who work with teaching music. They thought that what was going on was a great story and prepared a segment. Fortunately for Elijah, they chose him to represent both the David Matthews Composition School and the YMCA of Greater Erie. Elijah was excited to hear that he had the opportunity to perform.
It felt spectacular. When I performed, I felt like I was being watched by millions of people.
It doesn’t end there. On Aug. 28, 2020, Elijah released his first album called The Singing Effect. He says that some of the songs date back three years, showing how long it’s been in the works, but the vessel of album started around June 2020. The song he worked the hardest on was “The Singing Effect.” He rewrote it three times, and it took him three months to record it. As it’s his first album, he says that it will hold a special place in his heart forever. The hours of work put into it and the years of songwriting will definitely be an experience he won’t forget.
I passionately created each song out of passionate experiences that I’ll never regret.
When asked about his future songwriting endeavors, Elijah says he has plans.
“Never stop surprising myself and never stop being true to myself,” he said.
For his career he plans to write a lot of musicals and albums as well as sing in as many musicals as he can. A main goal with his music is to make music that makes someone’s world a better place. He is already doing this with his music as some of his songs hit on aspects of love and its hardships.
Lastly he had some tips for those making music or perusing theater. He says to be yourself to the utmost degree and not to make art for anyone else but yourself. Elijah believes that the most important part of it all is where it comes from.
“Be truthful to your own soul and accept that it is good because it came from your personal core,” he said. “You will eventually get somewhere, if you are true to yourself.”
Overall, Elijah has done what some only dream of doing, and he has only just recently graduated from Prep. He has big plans for his future and there’s no doubt he will not quit anytime soon. His passion and drive is like that of no other, and it’s interesting where he may end up within the next decade or perhaps even five years.